Remodeling Your Floors With Hardwood Flooring

When remodeling a house one of the most important decisions to make is what type of hardwood floors to use. Though other alternatives may seem like a bargain at first, wooden flooring is less susceptible to cracking and other forms of duress but has also been shown to greatly improve your home value. Not only does hardwood timber flooring make your house’s market price greatly increase, it also has a nice polished professional look to it that will impress both guests and yourself. While it may seem overwhelming at whether you home should have engineered flooring or solid wood floors, the choice is easily decided on by what you want the final product to accomplish.

If you want a nice rustic look to your house, than timber floor boards are a great pick for you. Despite being more difficult to install, the charming naturalistic look of timber floor boards will make your house truly feel new. The comfort and nostalgia of going with a timber floor board is one of the most satisfying home choices that a remodel can bring. Though solid timber floors require a good deal of maintenance, it will be worthwhile when you take in the lovely aesthetics they add. If you decide to go with timber floors, you will probably need to get assistance in the installation because they can be cumbersome to install without proper equipment.

When choosing your solid timber flooring houses often use a type of oak floors as they fit with the neighborhoods’ style and the area’s culture. Though the types of oak flooring vary depending on the area, European oak floor is by far the most common. The reason behind this is European oak flooring has a subtle yet sophisticated look making it very appealing to those interested in adding a refined taste to their house during their remodel. Even if you’re only interested in increasing the resell value of your house, oak flooring houses sell for much more than the cost of the investment. If you aren’t interested in installing oak floor buyers may also enjoy the textured look of Distressed Wood flooring. So don’t be afraid to experiment and deviate from the traditional method as the distressed look may go well with the rest of your interior.

If you want to enjoy the look of wooden floors without the maintenance and upkeep, then you may want to consider engineered wood flooring. While it doesn’t have the same thickness and form factor of hardwood floors, it is much easier to both manage and install. If you prefer to do all of your remodeling yourself, than engineered oak flooring is probably the right choice for you as it is much more straightforward to place down. Regardless of whether you choose to go with natural timber floors or engineered flooring, the look will be just the thing to make your remodeled house feel new and beautiful.

Source by Matt Davis

How To Be Qualified To Receive Home Repair Grants

For anyone who is a homeowner and needing a new roof or perhaps ought to repair the plumbing system, the broken furnace, the messed up driveway, or any other major home repair, but just can’t afford it, these free of costs grants are the allowances that you’ll actually need. Household repairs which are detrimental for the protection of your family should immediately be mended. With such ordeals, you may be accountable for acquiring free of charge government cash to get all those jobs done.

The nation’s federal government has a responsibility towards protecting the citizens of America. They strive to offer safe housing and shelter for such unfortunate or deprived citizens. Even though one’s income, property value, or credit history and the most essential factors that are considered for allowing such provision, fulfilling of which the citizen stands a wonderful chance to be qualified by the nation’s government to be eligible for such free grants for home improvement.

Whether it’s a repair job of no more than replacing a broken window, or even the immense work of replacing the entire gutter system in the building, an appropriate amount of free of charge and non repayable federal government money is usually available to individuals who actually qualify for such grants.

Sometimes those people who do not essentially require crucial home repairs, but only desire to update or improve their residences and properties are also awarded with generous funding to give vent to their plans. Those applicants who prove an immediate requirement for safety related repairs will attended primarily, but those who desire pursuing additional work done to enhance their homes can also place their plea. This is simply because such improvements to their homes will elevate the property value, as a result enhancing more property tax revenue; this means some excellent news for the federal government too.

In general, no matter what your repair improvement needs or desires are, North American federal government may well be willing to discuss certain home repair grants specially designed to assist you.

Source by Adam Halsey

Home Decorating for Christmas

People in general will do Christmas home decorating during the period before Thanksgiving and up until the day before Christmas. No matter when you do yours it is usually a yearly event that includes all family members and maybe some friends. We are always looking for ways to make it better than last year. Not to mention the competitiveness among neighbors to have the best looking yard and home.

There are many ideas out there for home decorating but to find those special ways to decorate in never easy. You must use your imagination and let it run wild. We are fortunate to have the means to get ideas from home decor businesses and home decorating professionals as they are aware of our need for helpful ideas. There are many websites and magazines that go all out to provide us with ideas and what materials we will need to complete our visions. We like to use our traditional Christmas items that we have accumulated from years past, but we can also run out to the stores to get new items that are in for the year to add to our collection.

When we think of Christmas decorating colors, the first ones to come to mind are red and green. If you read decorating articles they will tell you that there is no reason to just choose these colors as there are many beautiful colors that you can use to enhance your home. So you may come across silver, blue, yellow or even purple in store displays. Let your individuality run wild and give uniqueness to your decorating ideas.

Some of the things we do year after year are:

• Decorate the handrails on your stairs – We use garlands, ribbons, bows, fresh cuttings from the holly berry bush we have in the yard and sometimes we even hang stockings.

• Decorate the front door with a wreath. I think the ones that are made fresh each year are much nicer.

• Create tree ornaments each year to have everlasting memories from years past.

• Add items to the front yard. We planted a Blue Spruce tree last year and plan to add solar powered lights to it this year.

• Placing candles around the house. We like real candles in the house to add a nice aroma, but the electric candles in the window add a nice touch also.

• Adding wrapped gift boxes on the front porch is a nice addition.

Source by Dion Mulcahy

How Much Will Building a New Home Cost Me?

Quoting a price for construction of a new home is one of the hardest things to do because every home is unique and truly there are no two houses exactly alike, even if it is only the lot that makes them different.

Perhaps one of the most significant factors to cost of new home construction is the local region. Local building codes and labor play a major role in the cost of new home construction. Local building codes vary widely by region. For example, in warm climates building codes often do not require high-performance windows, higher insulation values or advanced heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Strict building codes or lack thereof makes a significant impact on the cost of constructing a new home.

Local labor in certain parts of the country is also higher than in other portions of the country. In places that unions are prominent in residential new construction, prices will generally be higher too. Strong unions tend to set the upper price point for skilled labor and it seems non-union wages are higher in areas with stronger union representation. As a general rule, places that have excess labor will have lower labor rates. Because of the recession and the real estate new construction depression, the price of labor has been generally falling around the country the last few years. This trend will continue until the supply and demand of labor reverses itself.

Although not included in the cost of building directly, land prices are easily the biggest factor in home and lot package. The cost of a lot in a city like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago could easily cost more than a home with a lot located in Indianapolis or Minneapolis. Also, lot improvements can be a hidden cost if the lot is not previously engineered by a land developer. Soil corrections, raising or lower lot elevations, sourcing utilities not on the edge of the property, drilling a well or installing a septic can all add large costs to the budget. If the lot is not pre-engineered by a land developer, obtaining at least one soil boring (four is best) where the house will be located is a very smart idea before you close on the purchase of the lot.

Finishes are another big contributor to the cost of construction. I have heard some rich and famous have built houses exceeding $5,000 per square foot with the major difference being extremely high-end finishes. Gold plating things can add up quickly. For us regular everyday type folks, even things like kitchen appliances (stove, dishwasher, microwave/hood, and refrigerator/freezer) can cost as little as $2,000, but can easily cost $25,000 for appliances that basically do the same things, like cool and cook food. Lighting fixtures can be much the same story. You can purchase lighting fixtures at your local Home Improvement store for as little as $500-600. Conversely, you can purchase a single dining room chandelier for a few thousand dollars or ten of thousands. In the case of the rich and famous, the sky is the limit on this stuff.

Having a green building background, I also know that green building can cost you your green (cash). There are a lot of builders selling “green bling”. “Green bling” are things that consumers have heard about and want added to their home and either have a slow payback or no payback at all. Unscrupulous builders can take advantage of a buyers desire to be environmentally conscience by selling a bunch of upgrades that are not only expensive, but are not really that green.

For the average American, building a new home will vary depending on the factors above and more, but in general the higher the square footage, the lower the cost per square foot and vice versa. The majority of houses I have seen around the country range from a low of about $80 per square foot to a high of $300 per square foot. In the Midwest, a good guideline is to budget for $150 per square foot on the main floor, $100 per square foot for the second story and $50 per square foot for finished square footage in the lower level. To these budget numbers you add the lot cost and lot improvements and you should be in the ballpark. For example, a 2,400 square foot two story home with 1,2000 square feet on each floor would cost approximately $380,000.000 with a $80,000 lot. In a down economy the pricing will be lower and higher in an up economy. There are wide differences in the quality of construction at the same price point between various builders.

As you can see, there are many factors that go into the cost of a new construction home and therefore it can be very hard to compare pricing between builders. Sending out a set of plans for bid does not mean you are comparing apples to apples. Builders are smart and know how to cut costs to win a build, but that does not mean you are receiving the best value.

Larger builders tend to deliver the most square footage for the least amount of money, but have cost reduced the product to make that happen. Cost reduction usually means materials are on the lower end of the price spectrum. You will see things like hollow-core pre-painted doors, plastic or pre-finished trim, vinyl floors, shower inserts, vinyl siding and the list goes on and on and on. While lower cost materials does not necessarily mean lower quality, there is a definite difference between homes built with higher quality versus lower quality materials. Square footage, house floor plan and granite counter-tops shouldn’t be the only considerations if you are planning on living in that home more than 5-10 years.

On the other hand, smaller builders tend to provide custom type construction with higher building materials, but can come with their own set of challenges. Smaller builders may not have adequate staff to provide the customer service you may be looking for or may not even be in business in five years. Many smaller builders fail to run a very tight ship financially and the cost of your project could easily be over budget. Also, using a smaller builder does not guarantee a quality built home. It is best to do your homework on any of the builders you are considering.

As a builder myself, we use an open book methodology. This means the consumer sees all actual costs and the actual builder’s profit. I am not advocating our system over another, but I find in today’s’ world of educated consumers, consumers understand a builder needs to make a profit and seem to be more comfortable when that number is fully disclosed. To that end, I have never had a customer come to us and ask us to cut our profit.

I am not sure I adequately answered the question “How much will building a new home cost me”, but hopefully you have a better understanding of the things that attract cost and some ideas about how to go about selecting a builder.

Source by Raymond Pruban

4 Plumbing Improvements That Save You Money

1. Replace Your Water Heater

Yes, this article is about saving you money by improving your plumbing system. And, it may seem strange to start off a money saving article by suggesting a fairly big purchase. But, if you are struggling with getting enough hot water into your home… if it is impossible to fill your bath tub with hot water, or if you can’t even get through a normal shower or washing the dishes, then you are wasting money. Every day. Every shower… every time you do the dishes.

As water heaters get older, problems develop. One of the first, and biggest warning signs is lack of warm water. Or, water that isn’t hot enough.

The more the heater needs to work to give you the amount you need, the more electric (or gas) it will consume. So, it costs you more money every time you turn the faucet to hot.

There could be problems with the heater that require it to be replaced. At worst, you have to put out some cash for one, but will save in the long run.

Have a plumber inspect the water heater. You may find a lesser problem that only requires a small fix. For example, a leak – even a tiny leak, can cause your home to receive much less hot water than you need. A simple, quick fix will save you money, and keep you from having to replace the entire unit.

2. Install a Tankless Water Heater

This ties into number one. Tankless water heater units are becoming more and more popular, especially in larger or older homes. These are placed in the room where that you need the water. So, if you have a large tub and need extra hot water, you place a tankless unit in that room (can go one the wall, under the cabinet, etc. – they’re typically flat and don’t take up much room), and this heats the water right in that unit. It does it quickly and can cycle much, much faster than your large heater.

3. Have Your Pipes Inspected

This is an often overlooked service that plumbers perform. Leaks happen in your pipes all the time. Winter weather causes partial freezes. Sediment builds up. Pressure in the pipes causes small breaks. This all leads to small leaks. Much like with your hot water heater, these small leaks can drain the money right out of your wallet.

And, it only takes a little water to cause big damage in your walls, floors, basement, etc.

4. Replace Your Faucets

This is a quick, cheap fix. Over time, faucets build up sediment, leading to clogs. This means your water system has to work harder to pump out enough water for you.

Replacing your faucets clears the way, and saves you money.

Source by Steve Morris

Home Remodeling & Refurbishing With Electric Radiant Infrared Heat Units

A perfect solution to adding heat to a home during a construction or addition project is using radiant ceramic flat panel electric infrared heaters. They are cost effective, efficient, eco-friendly, and a primary heat source of comfortable absorbing heat. They even warm the floor! This solution is applicable whether building an addition on a home, adding a three season glass enclosure or patio enclosure, remodeling a home, or refurbishing an older home. These units are the perfect solution for homes that have that one room that never stays warm enough.

So the question is how does this apply to the construction and refurbishing industry of older homes, home with additions being built, or green home construction? Using electric radiant infrared flat ceramic panels offers a dual benefit. The first is to bring heat to additions being built without running new tin and without the worry of the current furnace being powerful enough to handle the additional square footage. The second is to add a more effective and efficient primary heat source to the home or addition. Particularly a heat source that utilizes green technology that operates at a savings of up to 50% over the cost to heat the same space with natural gas.

Heating electrically has historically been less expensive than heating with natural gas or oil. That is because using 1000 watts of electricity costs about 10-12 cents per hour to run. But more than that heating with electric infrared technology reduces the recovery time of heating a room. This means the heating unit does not have to operate as frequently to keep the room warm or to re-heat the room after a door or window was opened.

A quick explanation and review of the efficiency and cost savings of infrared radiant heating follows in the next two paragraphs, then I will explain the benefit of ceramic flat panel infrared radiant heaters in the construction and refurbishing industry of older homes, home with additions being built, adding heat to patio enclosures or green home construction.

The reason why electric radiant infrared flat panel heaters are efficient and cost effective to operate can be explained this way; forced heated air systems only blow warm air into the room. The room must be filled with enough warm air to make a person feel warm. But at that point the only thing that is warm is the air, but hot air rises. There is usually a difference in temperature between the air at the ceiling and the air at the floor. The space at floor level and a few inches above the floor is never comfortably warm and is usually drafty. To fill a room with heated air takes time and, the air is warmed before the person is warmed. The room cools rapidly due to cold air infiltration, and takes longer to recover. But the biggest disadvantage is that the forced air system must run longer and work hard to heat the air in the room and then reheat the room which costs the consumer more energy dollars.

Conversely, infrared radiant heating heats people and objects first by utilizing the technology of long wave electromagnetic energy. After the people and objects are warmed they release the warmth into the air which then heats the ambient air. Even if a door is opened that lets a rush of cold air into the room, radiant heating has a faster recovery time due to all the objects in the room being warmed and releasing that warmth back into the room. Even though the unit operates continuously until the thermostat turns it off, it operates at an inexpensive rate. And that cost is only incurred when the unit is running whereas a gas system is always burning a pilot light and trying to overcome drafty cold air infiltration.

The electric radiant infrared flat ceramic panels are manufactured by Radiant Electric Heat (REH) in Wisconsin. These units are made in the USA. That is important to a lot of consumers and I am happy to point that out. The REH brand is called CeramiCircuit ™.

The CeramiCircuit ™ brand is constructed of ceramic coated 18 gauge steel plates with an energizing circuit on the internal face of the heating element. The heater body is a 20 gauge galvanized steel construct with ventilation slots at perimeter. The unit is made with a junction box of approximately 135 cubic inches running the width of the heater on the back side of the heater body. Three 7/8″ standard knockouts located left, right, and center, are built onto the rear surface of the junction box to allow entry of power feed. Actual power connections to the element and heater grounding connection are located at the left end of the heater. The heater elements have a wattage density of approximately 2.5 – 3.0 watts/square inch of emissive surface area. The popular residential ceiling cove units are rated at 825 watts (Model 645) or 1000 watts (Model 945) in appropriate voltages of 120 volts, 208 volts, 240 volts, or 277 volts. REH also makes CeramiCircuit ™ brand units in the following configurations: wall mounts, baseboards, large portable units (on casters or wall mount), and small under desk space heaters. More information can be found at The products at this page each have a link to the product brochure for more information. Some of the above detail of the unit construction came from those brochures.

During new and/or green construction, the building of an addition, any type of patio enclosure or three season room, or just a drafty, chilly room, the CeramiCircuit ™ brand of flat ceramic electric radiant infrared heating units offer perfect, efficient primary heat. They mount on two brackets that install like hanging a picture frame, they come with lead wire for behind the wall wiring offering a clean finished look, and the units can be zoned or operate on individual thermostats.

Instead of replacing or using a weak furnace or running extra duct work consider flat panel heating technology; the warmth of the sun in a box. No emission, no forced air, no combustion, hypoallergenic, no maintenance, solid and durable, American made, and less expensive operating costs than other heating systems, the CeramiCircuit ™ line is tailor made for residential use.

Source by Kevin L Owens

Basic Types of Enclosures

Screen enclosures are the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors without annoying bugs, cold winds, or bright sun. Adding an enclosure to your backyard or home will not only increase your outdoor enjoyment, but also add value and beauty to your home.

There are many different types of screen enclosures, however, that work with different parts or your home and backyard. Each type of screen enclosure has different attributes and design intentions that make it perfect for its job.

Before you begin thinking about what type of enclosure you need, you should learn the basic types. The basic types of screen enclosures are:

Screen Rooms

A screen room is a structure that has a solid roof and open, screened walls. Screen rooms are typically added on top of a patio or deck, or added onto a home. Screen rooms can have gabled or sloped roofs depending on your preference. Screen rooms are designed for outdoor sitting that is semi-protected from the elements.

Pool Enclosures

A pool enclosure is a type of screen enclosure designed to protect an outdoor swimming pool. They can be installed over above ground or in ground pools, and are perfect for keeping bugs and animals out as well as children. Pool enclosures are available in many different styles and materials, but all are see-through for visibility.


Sunrooms are glass enclosures that are designed for outdoor viewing while still having complete protection from the elements. As sunrooms are completely enclosed, you can control the environment much more than with a screen room. They do not have insulation, and can be built as an addition to your home or on top of decks or patios as long as the structures have substantial support.

Patio Covers

A patio cover is an enclosure that is not fully enclosed, but rather simply covers the top of an area. Patio covers are designed to protect an area from the sun and rain. Patio covers can be converted in screen rooms with the simple addition of screen walls. You can add a ceiling fan to a patio cover, and gutters come standard. Support posts for a patio cover can be installed directly into the ground or on top of a foundation for better support.


A pergola is similar to a patio cover, but it is more artistic and free standing. Pergolas protect you from the sun, but usually not the rain. They come in almost every size, shape, color, and style, so you can create a pergola that fits your design concept perfectly. Typically, a pergola covers a patio, deck, garden area, or pool area.

These are just the basic types of outdoor enclosures. Usually, if you have a specific need or request, a contractor can build whatever type of screen enclosure you want. Be sure to research the material you want your screen enclosure to be made of, as the material has a big impact on the design concept, longevity, and maintenance of your screen enclosure.

Source by Steven W

Difference Between General Contractor and Remodeling Contractor

If you are thinking of improving your home with the help of home improvement service providers, you have to keep in mind that one professional may offer a different line of services than another. There are those companies that specialize in interior designing for commercial buildings and there are those that have full-service offers in handyman services.

While there is a wide array of services that you can consider for your humble abode, two kinds of professionals are highly demanded in the market these days because of the growing need of homeowners when it comes to home improvement needs. Right before you hire a service provider who is professional enough in updating and reviving the glow of your home, you have to take into good consideration the difference between a professional service provider and a remodeling contractor.

A general contractor is one kind of professional that you can hire if there is a need for several specialists to take care of your home improvement needs. He is the person responsible in supervising the project and assuring that the tasks involved to complete the project are appropriate for the scheduled time.

Furthermore, he makes it a point that the entire project is suitable for the budget you have agreed upon. There are times when this kind of service provider will not be the one to do the work in improving your home. He takes care of the hiring of specialists or subcontractors who will be the point of contact in the necessary duties of the project.

Remodeling Contractor

This type of service provider is a team of professionals who specializes in renovating and remodeling different parts of a house. They are the ones who hire electricians, interior designers, handymen, architects, and any other pertinent specialists who can take good care of your home improvement needs.

There is a different between an entity that focuses on remodeling and one that is commonly referred to as a professional service provider. A remodeling contractor has the tendency to offer various services that a professional service provider does not usually offer to homeowners.

One good advantage of hiring this kind of contractor is the inclusive warranties that they offer to their client. If you are about to decide on which kind of contractor you want to work with in improving your house, it is always best to determine your needs so that you will be able to hire the most effective professionals for your project.

Source by Fidelio Orosco

Why Vinyl Is Better Than Timber For External Wall Cladding

Home improvement is a task that will never end since there are a lot of new materials and items homeowners can opt for to make their houses more comfortable and more appealing. The only way homeowners can reduce home improvement tasks is to look for materials or items that can match their needs and last for a long time. When it comes to outdoor aesthetics and improvement such as external wall cladding, most homeowners prefer vinyl than its traditional counterpart timber due to the following features below.


Timber cladding is made from wood. Of course, everyone knows that wood can last for a long time. However, there are numerous issues that can affect the credibility of wood such as water and pests, which can be a huge expenditure. Luckily, vinyl cladding can withstand water problems. In addition, vinyl cladding does not attract pests. As a result, this type of cladding can be used for a longer period of time.


When it comes to maintenance, vinyl also has little to no maintenance. In addition, cleaning vinyl is also a breeze since you only need to make use of a mild solution and a brush or cloth. Unfortunately, when using timber, homeowners need to do a pile of maintenance tasks from repainting, re-oiling, and even filling cracks to ensure that timber cladding will last for a long time.


As for appearance, many homeowners still opt for timber cladding since it features a unique and natural appeal for the house. Its gradation of colours, the rings, and grain increases the wonderful aesthetics of the cladding. But, if you are looking for a more contemporary look to match your modern house, vinyl cladding can provide you with such feature.


In terms of installation, vinyl cladding is easier and more convenient to install since it is light-weight and flexible. Therefore, you can easily install it even on unusual wall shapes. On the other hand, timber installation can be a huge task since it is heavy. Apart from that, there are cases when you need to hire experts to properly accomplish the job.


Lastly, the costs of vinyl and timber claddings are virtually the same. Costs may differ depending on the type of timber or the type of vinyl texture you are looking for. Size can also alter cladding costs. So, it is important that you measure your house properly to avoid over spending when you purchase.

By knowing all these, homeowners can easily choose the right wall cladding that can match their needs and preferences.

Source by Johnny Carlino

What Landlords Should Know About Home Improvement Grants

All American rental property owners, particularly those who are in need of essential repairs but lack sufficient funding to do so, should be made aware of the existence of home improvement grants that are sponsored by United States government. Whether your repair issues are that of a cosmetic nature or a project related to tenant safety, whether you need supplemental funding in order to do it, or you just would rather spend Uncle Sam’s money than your own, there may be generous amounts of free government money for you to apply towards your expenses.

Knowing this, let us now concentrate on a rather important subject for landlords…the consequences of neglecting to maintain your rental properties. Though this may seem an unpleasant topic to discuss, we know that this is pertinent information for a landlord to possess, and requires recognition. When adhering to a rental agreement made between a landlord and tenant, it is a given that the unit made available to the renter, as well as all common areas of the building such as laundry rooms, hallways, courtyards, and basements, will be properly maintained and inspected in order to insure tenant safety. Many respectable landlords utilize government home improvement grants make this possible

When the required maintenance is left untended to, or poorly performed, this puts the tenants at risk of potential danger. The repercussions of the neglect of the building, and compromise of its occupants, can result in a number of unfavorable circumstances for the property owner. Aside from the obvious downfall being that any unattended to repair issue usually will in time become worse and more costly to repair, there are many worse scenarios that frequently occur for landlords who’s maintenance attention skills leave something to be desired.

Regardless of whether or not they have a signed a lease, any legal occupants of your building have a right to safe conditions and repairs to be made in a timely manner. If you as the property owner do not attend to these matters, it is completely legal for your tenants to withhold their rent payments until you do. You do not have to have any type of written agreement with the tenant for them to take this action. It is their right, and it is the law.

In addition to this financial setback, you may then be fined by state or city inspectors and court ordered to make the repairs, or in some extreme cases, evacuate the premises. On a regular basis, many particularly undesirable landlords have been sued by tenants, had their buildings condemned, and some repeat offenders have actually been jailed for such neglectful actions that put the building occupants in physical jeopardy. All the while acquiring free government money in home improvement grants to finance the repairs could have prevented this.

If you are a landlords, good or bad, with wonderfully kept property, or homes that require extensive rehabilitation, do yourself and your tenants a favor and familiarize yourself with the free government grant programs that offer home improvement grants. After all, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Source by Sarah Beckham

The Must-Do Home Improvements To Increase The Value Of Your Home

When it comes to home improvement, you can spend a lot on a project and increase the value of your home by very little. Here you will find the ways to do the opposite, increasing the value of your home a great deal while putting out very little money.

If you have a big enough yard to avoid a crowded look, adding a wood deck to your property is relatively cheap and easy to do yourself. Be sure to sand, prime and either stain or paint the deck. It increases the value of your home because it gives a potential buyer the appeal of a nice space for recreation and entertaining. This is a value for most people.

Turning your attic into living space is a very cheap way to increase the square footage of your home. All that is necessary is to install drywall, create a floor with vents, and add some minor electrical wiring for switches and lights. Each additional square foot of home, depending on your area, can increase the value of your home by one thousand dollars.

A very cheap improvement that increases your home’s value is painting. You can use cheap paint to give your home a clean appearance and make the home look newer than it is. Painting is also another project that you can do on your own. Saving money not hiring a professional is a large part of your return.

Putting in new doors is the best first step. A new front door is essential to making a good first impression. Make sure to put in the effort to make the door seal well, increasing your home’s energy efficiency. As far as interior doors, purchase 6 panel doors that are all the same. Uniformity goes a long way for value, and 6 panel doors are in high demand and create a sense of elegance for a potential buyer.

Replacing old windows is very important to increasing the value of your home. It increases its value by making your home more energy efficient and eliminating undesirable drafts. New windows also make your home look newer, increasing its appeal to potential buyers.

Cleaning your home from top to bottom will also add value. Use a power sprayer to clean the outside, including porches and walkways. Remove as much unwanted items as possible from your basement if you have one, and do the same with the attic. Clean out closets and cupboards, which will also rid the home of clutter, but also allows potential buyers to see what they are getting without having to move items for them. Minimize knickknacks around the home, store most electrical appliances away from counters and remove stains from all surfaces. Cleaning the floors is optimal. If you do not have a quality carpet cleaning machine rent one or hire a cleaning company. A clean home looks newer and will be essential in attracting buyers.

Most people are capable of doing the home improvement projects found above on their own. Doing-it-yourself is one of the most important factors in keeping the projects affordable, increasing your return. Use the tips above and your home will be worth at least 3 times more than you will need to invest.

Source by Peter Sicoli

Home Improvement Grants Most African American Homeowners Overlook

Home improvement continues as one of the biggest expenses for African- American homeowners. Black homeowners pay the most for home improvements, repairs, upgrades and interest rates according to Federal Government statistics.

Because of a lack of information sources to get the word out to African American homeowners, most African American homeowners fail to take advantage of the many programs available to them.

Despite a record number of home improvement grants available from the federal government. Thousands of black homeowners still pay for high-priced home improvements, without first looking at what’s available from the federal government.

This could often save black homeowners thousands of dollars. It’s a shame the programs most black homeowners finance through there taxes go unused. Yes, by the people who could use them the most.

This week we’ll talk about some of the grant programs currently available from the U.S government. These grant programs can help you improve the value, comfort and energy savings of your home.

If you can get just one of these grants, it would more than pay for the time and effort it takes to get it.

According to HUD (Federal Housing and Urban Development) The Department has published the Early Registration Notice for potential applicants applying for funding under HUD’s competitive grant programs, available on the website. This Notice provides information to help applicants better understand the electronic submission process.

To help with the registration process, HUD has developed a brochure on how to register. HUD also has a brochure that will help you find and apply for grant opportunities. HUD has also prepared a Special file to assist you in completion of a grant. In addition to HUD, many low and no cost loans and grants exist for home improvements from most state and local government agencies.

These loans can go toward bringing homes up to code, used for energy efficient improvements or for cosmetic improvements to your property. All these actions can also help to raise and preserve the value of your home for little or no cost to you.

To take advantage of this program contact your local city or county rehabilitation department for more information. The key is to getting informed and starting the process by taking action.

For the website that list all federal government grants currently available Click Here! This site offers many tools for getting grants, such as tips for finding the right government grant for your specific needs. This site also offers a government grant search tool, government grant email alerts and much more.

By searching and keeping up-to-date on what home improvement programs are available, you can save thousands of dollars. HUD is working feverishly to improve and streamline the application and approval process of home improvement grants.

Meanwhile find out what qualifications you need to apply, get the necessary paperwork, fill it out and send or email it in. You never know, this may turn into a chance for you to save money and improve your home at the same time. What a deal.

Source by Roy Primm

Benefits of Adding Picture Windows With Your Home Improvement

Any window in your home provides an opportunity to get a glimpse of the outside world but it’s the picture window that offers you a way to bring the best view into your home. A well-designed picture window can offer an unobstructed view of your surroundings – no matter the weather – from the comfort of your home. Majestic view aside there’s also the benefit of boosting the value of your home with new a new picture window – and added market value in this economy is always a plus.

Choosing the Right Picture Window

Most think of the traditional window when this topic comes up in home improvement discussions surrounding window replacement and the addition of more natural light. While a large piece of plate glass is functional, it’s becoming less popular among home owners because of the bland design and the poor insulation. They’re also more fragile than reinforced panes.

Segregated panes that make up a larger picture window are making a comeback as homeowners try to embrace classic architectural designs in newer homes. While offering enhanced aesthetical appeal these windows are also far more sturdy and – should a pane crack, chop or break – easy to replace.

Window manufacturers are also working to enhance the energy efficiency of large picture windows by creating double pane grid designs. This provides the same utility benefit as a common double or triple pane window but on a larger scale. Each individual section has its own packet of air or gas to help reduce heat gain and loss.

Window Replacement

For those that have an existing picture window, it’s best to order a newer design or style to ditch the old plate glass or sectional window that features smaller – though still large – pieces of glass. The energy savings alone will cover the cost of the upgrade over the years. If you live in a cold climate the install will likely payment for itself much faster.

Getting Creative with Window Design

Don’t just base your purchase of a window upgrade on price alone, shooting for the low-budget models to save money. There’s a lot of creative play when it comes to enhancing your windows. If it’s in your budget, consider having custom windows designed to better match the architecture of your home. Likewise you can splurge a little and have the windows built out to create a bay window. While not technically a picture window the bay window can add some functional space to your home while improving the view outside the home.

While it’s not recommended for the DIY lover due to the scale of the job and the size of the windows, you can have a replacement picture window or bay window put in quickly with the right general contractor. Contact a local contractor or specialist window installer to get an estimate on upgrading your home with a new model window.

Source by Daniel Cargille

Converting Your Carport Into a Garage – A Profitable Home Improvement

There are many homeowners who opt to building carports because this task is relatively inexpensive than having a garage. However, homes with garages are more desirable. Thus, in case you decide to sell the property in the future, it will be a lot easier. Converting your carport into a garage may be quite costly but the benefits are manifold too.

Firstly, most people do not distinguish a carport apart from the garage since they both mainly serve the same purpose of housing your car. As was said, a carport is cheaper because it is usually made from few materials to make a simple shed. All this space needs are a few pieces of lumber or steel poles and sheets of galvanized tin or gable roofs. Such materials are susceptible to damage. Then your vehicles may not get the protection it really needs. A garage is more of the permanent structure attached or detached to the house. This is usually enclosed as some homeowners opt to make this area an office or workshop as well.

Assessing your need for the conversion is your primary task. You have to think thoroughly as to what purposes the new space will serve. If you only need it to secure your vehicles, then a simple garage would do. If you are thinking of having a special space for keeping your tools, organizing workshop materials and for other functions, then complex detached garages are perfect.

Envision the size of the new space. The minimum size for a single garage is 12 ft. wide x 22 ft. long, and 18 ft. wide x 22 ft. long for double garages. Along with the planning of the size, consider the widths and heights of the flooring and ceiling. Allot a higher ceiling height if you are installing door openers with thick header. Usually a standard door needs at least an 8-ft. span for the opening.

Hiring professionals may also be needed especially when you want new wiring, plumbing, roofing and insulation. A home inspector or structural engineer must firstly examine the current conditions of these aspects so you can have an overview of the extent and expenses of needed replacements. Note that wall insulation is vital particularly if you are living in a location with extreme hot temperature.

The minute you have finalized the conversion construction details, it is important that you check your local area about building codes and regulations. In most states, a homeowner needs to secure a permit if these tasks are involved in renovating, remodeling or building a new structure:

– demolishing load-bearing walls,

– changing roofline

– altering footprint of the house

– installing new windows, door and sink

– new electrical wiring and plumb work

As you go along each preparation step, your finances should be readied as well. List down the materials you think are needed for this home project and across each item, place the projected amounts. A simple carport-to-garage makeover requires wall studs, bottom plate, door with track and opener, plywood, chip board for sheathing, pegboard for wall insulation and finishing materials like PVC siding or brick veneer. Get quotations from local stores or online home improvement shop websites. Moreover, do not forget to include labor costs. It would be easier to calculate such operating expense if you specify the duration of this project. Elaborate installations would naturally translate to longer hours of work, thus, you need to allocate more budget for paying each handyman you hire. Each laborer can be paid $25-35 per hour. If you want to be saved from worrying altogether about the conversion, hiring a contractor would be very helpful. But this can set you back $3,000 to $8,000 for the whole project depending on the complexity of the construction work and your location.

Once the conversion is over and done with, you will see that a garage is an invaluable investment. The expenses may demand much from your finances but the added protection and better and higher property value are worth such expenditure and effort.

Source by Marikor Hidalgo

Government Grants For Home Improvement – There is Free Money Available

Some people are living in homes that are in dire need of upgrading and unfortunately these people may not even be aware that there are free government grants for home improvement that may be available to them.

Every week while on my way to work I pass by homes that look like they are falling apart. I do not know how anyone can live in them, as they look so bad. So, why don’t these homeowners just fix up these dilapidated houses or tear them down and start over? Usually it is because they cannot afford it. Home remodeling costs money and those who are of low income are too worried about how they are going to buy food or pay for water before they think about fixing up their house.

But for these people there are government grants for home improvement that they can receive. If you are living in a home that is unhealthy or unsafe and you qualify, based on income, you can get help from the government. And this is money that does not have to be paid back. This is money that will fix termite damage, leaky roofs, poor plumbing and more.

If your house is unsafe for you and your family you need to get information about this type of assistance from the government. Every year the government sets back billions of dollars for different grant opportunities, and many of them are geared towards the low income citizens, who just cannot afford to fix their house, buy food, or even pay rent. This includes programs like the government grants for home improvement, TANF, and LIHEAP.

Source by Zak Crawford

Auto Insurance Is A Commodity You Can’t Live Without

Auto insurance is vital for anyone that owns a vehicle. The following ideas should help you narrow down your options so you can use to figure out the best insurance coverage for your unique situation.

Every company has their own way of calculating your risk level and premium rates. You can save a good deal of money by checking into policies from several competitors.

TIP! Lowering your yearly mileage can help you lower your monthly auto insurance payments. The majority of car insurance companies offer a discount for drivers who log less miles.

You must understand the various coverage plans when buying car insurance. There are many different situations that come into play when determining the cost of getting insurance coverage for your vehicle. Bodily injury insurance can cover costs associated with death, death and injury claims if you were to hit someone.

Insurance Companies

When upgrading your car by purchasing extras or replacing parts, check with your insurance company on how much they will cover if ever your car gets damaged or stolen. Most insurance companies do not provide coverage for these parts, insurance companies do not cover these items.

TIP! When you’re in the market for car insurance, you will want to understand what protection the various coverage types will provide. Your insurance may only be for a single vehicle, but the cost will still be affected by many different variables.

When you are shopping around for auto insurance, get quotes from multiple carriers. Rates vary drastically in the car insurance world. Get new batch of quotes each year to ensure the lowest premiums and out-pocket-costs. Make sure this year’s quote is for the quotes you compare are based on similar amounts of coverage.

Do not pay the monthly payments. Your insurance provider could have added anywhere from three to five extra dollars to your monthly bill. These fees can add up very fast to something more substantial. Adding another bill to your monthly pile can create a nuisance. The fewer payments you have to worry about, the more money you save.

Property damage liability coverage is an important thing to include in your car insurance policy that you must get. This will take care of any damages your car causes in an auto accident. There are only three states left in America that do not have this coverage.

Do not jump on the cheapest car insurance quotes. Cheap may say it all or it may be a great deal.

Insurance rates vary due to the chances of theft or accident, and in general rural areas and suburbs have lower rates than cities.

Insurance against drivers who don’t have insurance is also important, as well as non-accident damage to your car like fire or flood, like in a fire.

Conversely, whenever these things are removed from your record, the lower your insurance costs. When they go away, you may want to get some updated quotes from insurance companies.

Many insurance companies give discounts to people who do not drive less. This makes cutting back on your driving down a wonderful way to save money on car insurance.

Never drive without car insurance! Auto insurance protects you, your family, and your assets in an accident. Also, in most places, it’s the law! These tips are designed to guide you to the right insurance plan for your automobile needs.

How To Self Generate Qualified Home Improvement Leads

Home improvement business ventures have a very high rate of failure! Why? Contractors lack marketing knowledge to attract qualified leads, and sales systems to gain the business. No leads… no sales… no business… doors close.

In this article you will learn what is working today, and also lead generation methods via digital marketing strategies. Many leading edge companies are seeing their percentage of leads from web marketing strategies and tactics becoming the major source of their home improvement leads and revenues. There are even lead generation companies farming leads solely from internet marketing and selling them to home improvement companies and general contractors! The good news is you can learn what it takes to generate leads using internet marketing strategies for yourself!

Listed are the most productive lead sources/options for generating quality home improvement leads. Companies who acquire the best “lead mix” for their business, balance these sources and focus on budgeting for best return on investment. Keep in mind that all lead sources should lead to a call center and customer relationship management (CRM) software. If you do not have CRM software, a free source is RenexPro.

Top Home Improvement Lead Sources

Canvassing: Canvassing for leads has seen a tremendous resurgence in the last two years (since 2009). Years ago this was the predominate method going door to door and offering a free estimate, inspection or gift for an appointment. Canvassing can be done with sales personnel or special teams trained to just get the lead.

The canvassing team is usually comprised of a Team Leader, Canvassers and a Van to take them to the territory.

  • Team Leader: Full time employee. Recruits,trains, and supervises his/her canvassers (trains by example, maintains goals, base salary plus incentives.
  • The Canvasser: 19 or older high school graduate – college students are great, clean cut dress code, part time (1,000 hour rule), hourly plus incentives.
  • The Training: Must have a scripted, short presentation. Training and practicing the script is imperative. Canvassers are not selling anything but the appointment. The “hook” for an appointment is a free service and/or gift.

Canvassing for home improvement leads is a great way to get quality leads when the program is done right. Some companies today are exclusively using this method.

Direct Mail: Direct mail is what most home improvement companies use today for the main percentage of their lead generation. Although still a great way too generate leads, it is getting more costly per lead. As long as your service has the margins, direct mail with letters, brochures and post cards should be considered. Caution: Use expert services that have a proven track record for your industry. Don’t skimp and try using a company with no track record. One failed mailing could be devastating to your budget. If you bring it in house, make sure you have experts on the job that test and measure before sending out a mass mailing.

TV & Radio: If you have the budget, these leads are expensive but high quality if the campaigns are branded with a great call to action. TV is hard to measure; however, what branding recognition you gain! The best tip here is to humanize your commercials. Let the viewer know who you are and what the benefits are when doing business with your company.

Radio is the same way. Humanize your ads. The last company where I had an inside view of lead source statistics showed an ever growing benefit to radio ads when the CEO began conducting the ads and bringing his charm to each campaign. Today, I hear him every time I go for drive so I know they are still getting tremendous results.

Shows, Events, Mall Kiosks: Your presence in the community is vital to your business. Use every opportunity you can to make physical contact for lead generation. Have professional marketing materials and eye catching displays. Some companies get so many leads from these venues that they focus most of their efforts there. They know that just like canvassing for leads, you must follow and personalize a script. Train your people to be up-beat, friendly, informative, and persistent in closing the appointment… not a sale!

Telemarketing: Cold calling for leads is not very productive; however, responding to inquiries from printed material, incoming calls or email is a must in your business. If you do not have the budget for a call center, its not very expensive to outsource this task. Once again, close for the appointment… not a sale. And, do not ball park pricing. This is a disservice to the prospect and your company. There are too many variables with products and installation. Professional eyeballs need to be on site!

Digital Marketing Syndication: Digital marketing syndication for home improvement lead generation is becoming a major source and factor in lead capture. Today, more and more companies are developing digital marketing strategies to boost profits by driving highly interested and qualified traffic to their websites. AND, we are seeing companies that gain almost all their leads from their internet strategies and tactics.

Almost all sources for leads find their way to your web presence. Think about this, when a homeowner wants to remodel any part of their home, how do they get the information to contact a contractor? Today, more an more prospects search the internet… OR… they respond to an ad from all the other sources I have mentioned in is article, and check up on that company by going to their website! Have you experienced prospects wanting more than one estimate? 90% of the time the prospect wants to get other proposals or estimates so they do an internet search for competitors. Who do they find and pick… the best websites that are on the first page!

What if you dominate the internet space in your area? What if you have a website that is so appealing to the viewer, and it has a Call To Action on every page? What if you have campaigns, articles, videos, announcements, informational sites, press releases, Pay Per Click ads, banners, links from manufacturers and other service/product companies pointing to your interactive website? Your overwhelming presence on the internet will get more leads than you can handle! You will grow your business!

Referrals… Another article on this. Get good at this. Training required!

All home improvement lead sources discussed in this article are important for your business. Find what works best for you, and make sure that your business has a dominating web presence that is syndicated for maximum quality lead conversion!

Source by Robert Andres Cuadra

Home Improvements – Window Types And Frames Explained

Frame Materials

Since the frame can account for as much as 25% of the total window area; it should be at least as well insulated as the glass. Several different frame types are available.

Solid Wood and Clad Wood

Solid wood frames are a good choice from an energy standpoint. The colour choices are unlimited but wood does require regular re-painting inside and outside.

Clad wood frames are protected on the exterior with a covered of pre-painted aluminum or vinyl. Clad frames are more expensive than plain wood but eliminate exterior painting. Claddings must be well designed to prevent water from becoming trapped behind them.


Aluminum frames are durable, and good designs are available for residential windows, aluminum conducts heat rapidly. To prevent condensation and frost from forming on the frame, the frame and sash must be equipped with well-designed thermal breaks.

It is difficult to judge whether an aluminum frame is equipped with a good thermal break. One thing you can do is ask people who have lived with the brand you are considering whether they have experienced any condensation problems.

If a metal window frame has a CCMC number, it has passed the CSA A-440 standard test for condensation resistance. Be particularly wary of inexpensive aluminum replacement windows.


Vinyl frames provide good insulation and do not require painting. However, some manufacturers reinforce the vinyl with metal, which can decrease the frames insulation value. Wood reinforcing is preferable.


Fiberglass window frames are a recent innovation available from a limited number of custom manufacturers. Fibreglass frames will hold their shape permanently and will not warp, shrink, rot, bow, dent or twist.

Air Leakage

If you are going to the expense and trouble of replacing windows, make energy efficiency one of your most important considerations. I talked about draftproofing in an earlier article, so I will focus on air leakage here.

There are some major air leakage areas in the basement. After construction the sill plate can shrink away from the concrete foundation and leave you with a wind chill factor. Leakage in the header area wastes money and can make the floors upstairs chilly.

Let’s not forget the attic. Care should be taken to seal around all the openings in the attic floor, such as ceiling light fixtures, plumbing stacks, exhaust fans and chimney chases. Otherwise warm moist air can escape into the attic, where it can condense and cause moisture damage. Before leaving the attic remember to weather-strip the hatch and latch it snugly.


Extreme air sealing will make power ventilating a necessity. Care should be taken to enable all power exhaust systems to have adequate replacement air inlets.

It’s Just That Easy!

Source by Shell Busey

What You Should Know Before You Hire A Home Improvement Contractor

Home Improvement Contractors (HIC) and Home Improvement Salesman (HIS) are required by law in almost every jurisdiction in the United States to be registered and licensed. Licensing procedures are generally done by Municipal or local agencies of the respective State. For example, HIC and HIS are licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs in New York City.

As you might be aware, many of these Home Improvements Contractors and Salesmen are “fly by night” operators who misrepresent and fraudulently swindle millions of dollars from innocent home owners every year. Many of whom run and operate their scams out of their Vans, Trucks and SUV instead of a physical business address. Many years ago, the home improvement trade was referred to as the “Tin Men” industry where high powered salesmen sold aluminum sidings to homeowners with over 500-1000 per cent mark ups in many cases. Many of those same homeowners ended up with huge second mortgages, mechanic liens and foreclosures in many cases against their properties.

If you are a homeowner making plans to renovate or improve your properties, these are some tips on how to select or chose the right Home Improvement Contractor for your next project. First and foremost, ask HIC and HIS for proof of license, business card showing address, phone number, website, email addresses, etc. Their licenses should be imprinted on business cards. Next, ask for references or testimonials. Try to get at least 3-5 references and make sure not only to call them, but go over and look at the work that was done first hand. Visual inspection is always crucial in deciding on a project. Most importantly, get at least 3-5 written estimates from other HIC/HIS and compare prices. It is never recommended to sign a contract on the spot with any of these high powered salesmen. Take time out to think about the quote or estimate, compare prices and most importantly, call your local municipal or agency to verify that the HIC and HIS are legitimate. It is also a good idea to find out if the HIC you are contemplating to do business with carry what is called a Home Improvement Trust Fund. This is a fund that each HIC is required to pay into so if a homeowner gets scammed, he or she can seek restitution directly from the Agency that licensed the HIC or HIS. Last but not least, try not to give a deposit during the execution of contract. Give yourself that 3 days cancellation right that you are entitled to, so you can think about the transaction or offer. If in any case you are required to give a down payment or deposit, give a very small deposit (less than 10 per cent) if possible. Always keep in mind, never give more than you can afford to lose. If the HIC or HIS is legitimate, they will not ask or insist on getting a deposit up front. They should be credible enough to have accounts/credit with Suppliers such as Home Depot, Lowes, etc., to get materials delivered to your property. Beware of HIC or HIS who desperately seek huge deposits up front. Some of them will demand that you write the check in their names or give them cash. Do NOT do it. That is the first sign to detect an illegal operator. You should write the check to the Company or use a credit card. If they refuse, you should show them the door or call the Police.

In conclusion, let me recommend that you seek a progress payment plan with your Contractor. In other words, you pay them as they go along based on your approval, and most importantly, the Municipal Building Inspector’s approval. You do NOT want to pay a Contractor until or unless the Inspectors give a green light certifying that the work is done professionally and in accordance with local building codes. Ask your Contractor to allow you to hold back at least 10 per cent of the final payment, or better yet, the total contract price for at least 60-90 days after completion, so as to make sure that the work was done correctly. Just imagine getting a roof done for example, and only to find out after a heavy downpour that your roof leaks. Many Contractors do not come back to repair their shoddy workmanship when they get paid. Hold back some money! If you financed your project through a bank or third party lender, get that finance company involved. Make sure that they do a visual inspection of the job that was done and also sign off with the job before they release final payments to the Contractor.

Source by Patrick Pearce

The Importance of Regular Home Improvement

Home improvement, by definition, is making changes to one’s home by making improvements on the house’s looks. Home improvement is usually done by professional contractors, handymen, and even the house owner himself. Home improvement is important because real estate’s value appreciates more if a property is well-maintained. Home improvement is seen by many as unnecessary cost. However, losing value of a real estate is usually caused by neglect in a property’s maintenance. Therefore, in the long run, regular maintenance is crucial for the property’s value to appreciate.

Regular home improvement jobs and renovations will surely make your current living conditions more favorable. People do not easily notice that some areas of the house need improvement. In the long run, regular maintenance will reduce the serious structural damages to your property. It is also important to note that there are different maintenance schedules for different areas of your house. For instance, plumbing should be checked monthly. Ovens, heating systems, smoke detectors, and the like should also be checked monthly to prevent unfortunate disasters. The garden area should be maintained regularly and should undergo rigorous maintenance every four months. This is to prevent insects and termites infestation which can cause significant damage in infrastructure. The landscape of a house should also be in good appearance to help preserve your property’s value. Refrigerators should be checked every three to four months. Check for faulty or loose wiring and avoid energy overload. The roof, on the other hand, should be checked at least every six months. Check for shingles and leaks and take care of them right away. Watch out for blocked gutters as this can lead rainwater to go inside your house. If your house is made mainly of wood, have a regular termite exterminator team visit your house.

Aside from these standard areas in the house that need improvement, remodeling or renovating is also a good idea. It can also add value to real estate. Remodeling can be as simple as changing the paint color in your living room or laying a different color of carpet in your bedroom. Something this simple can make significant changes in your house’s ambience. Renovating can be as major as tearing down the common wall of two rooms to make them one big room. Tearing down walls creates a bigger space which can be used for many purposes. Additional extensions can also be done. Additional space that can be used as garage space is useful. Home improvement tasks that require massive construction should be done by professional contractors. Make a list on what you want changed inside your homes and consult with a team of contractors. This way, you will have an idea on the costs that will be incurred as well as the extent of the repairs and improvements you can do.

Home improvement is important because essentially, it is considered taking care of your home. Aside from the additional value it gives your property, preventive maintenance and remodeling is always good to decrease future damages in your property.

Source by Jaxson Smith

Even Up The Score With The Right Auto Insurance Premium Tips

Some things that can affect your insurance costs are in your control; others aren’t. A higher deductible will make your insurance costs. The information below will give you in finding ways to get the answers to lowing your cost on auto insurance.

Most states have laws that require you to carry appropriate auto liability insurance for drivers. You need to be aware of insurance policies you are required to have. You will break the law if you drive uninsured.

TIP! It is a common misconception that the cost of auto insurance automatically drops as the driver reaches 25 years of age. However, the truth is that rates slowly decrease from the time a driver turns 18 years old, as long as he or she maintains a clean driving record.

You can buy additional insurance beyond the legal requirements for your state. Even though these options will increase your premium, the peace of mind they will give you will be worth it. Uninsured motorist protection is a means to protect yourself from drivers who do not having insurance.

Think about what type of insurance coverage is needed. There are a many insurance options available for you, but most of them aren’t right for you. If you have a history of accidents, you should include collision coverage in your policy.

Carpooling and public transit can save you money on your auto insurance.Insurance companies are very happy with responsible and driving less miles is one way to show them.

TIP! Insurance is based off the type of vehicle you have purchased, whether it is a car or truck. You may have refined tastes and want something luxurious, but the insurance bill will reflect this choice.

When purchasing car insurance, be sure to get quotes from several different agencies. Rates vary dramatically from one company to the next. Get new quotes each year to ensure you always have the best rate. Make sure these quotes are for a similar amount of coverage as last year.

You do not want to be without car insurance, since accidents can and do happen at any time.

You will want to consider this seriously as it will increase your policy price.This is also offer protection if your car is hit by a motorist who has no insurance.

Insurance companies are not all different. If you don’t like the first quote you get, be sure to check out several competitors as they all have different prices available.

Conversely, whenever these things are removed from your record, the lower your insurance costs.When they go away, you may want to get some updated quotes from insurance companies.

Remove any other drivers from your insurance that do not drive your vehicle anymore. If other drives are on your plan, consider removing them in order to save some money on your premiums.

TIP! Carpooling and public transportation are great ways to lower your insurance costs. Insurance companies will reward you for being responsible by lowering your insurance rates.

Always try to remember the costs of insurance before purchasing a car. Keep in mind that cars are viewed favorably by insurance companies. You must factor in this expense when deciding which car you are purchasing a vehicle.

If you have any outstanding traffic or parking tickets, you should make sure you have no unpaid fines. Insurance companies look at your driving record when they determine how much they are going to charge you, so you want to make sure any outstanding fines are paid up. This is morally correct and it also improves your insurance premiums.

As was noted above, it is possible to change your auto policy in ways that will lower its cost. Your location, your driving habits, and how responsibly you drive are all under your control. By educating yourself on these factors, you can bring your insurance down to a price that you can happily live with.

How to Start a Profitable Home Improvement Referral Service

Home improvement referral services are cropping up from New York to California. They are taking the time to do the legwork to find reputable and reliable contractors and these businesses are reaping profits from good work.

It really doesn’t take much to start. A home improvement referral service business takes only a little money and not more time than a regular 40 hour a week job. They can actually start making money within the first year of business.

The first thing to consider is what types of home improvement businesses your will refer. This can include gutter cleaning and replacement, remodeling, building additions, fencing, lawn maintenance, and many others. Remember, all though you may like to paint a client may not like it or have the time. Therefore, no business should be overlooked.

Once you have an idea of the types of contractors for your referral service business, you will need to call the local, county, and state government offices. Get the regulations and requirements regarding licensing, bonding, business registry, and insurance for each type of contractor. This is the first step to building your list. Any contractor that does not meet government regulations should not be on your referral list.

By knowing these requirements and using them, your home improvement referral business will gain credibility with your clients. They will know that if the contractor doesn’t meet these requirements, they will not be on your list. It makes the client feel more sure the job will be completed professionally and correctly.

Another way to ensure creditability of your referral service business is to only look at contractors that are recommended by their past happy customers. But this is not the end of the screening process. Recommendations are not enough.

Once a contractor is recommended to your home improvement referral business, you need to check out his or her service. Talk to them, explaining your referral service business. Many contractors will give you the needed information happily. Ask to see their licenses, bonding information, and insurance to ensure they are current and up to date. Ask for a list of services they provide and the cost for these services. Finally ask for references you may speak to.

Now you have gotten your contractor referral list started. While working on creating this list, you should have started thinking about a name for your referral service business, advertising, office area, office equipment, and ordered a phone line for the business. You may want to use a computer right away, but an index card or file system could work just as well and for a fraction of the cost, until your company grows. Keep in mind that as your company grows, the office space, office equipment, and referral list system will probably need to become computerized to save time and money.

Since your referral business is going to begin locally, check with local newspapers and periodicals to see if they would be interested in doing an article about your business. Make some flyers and ask local hardware stores if you could leave some there to advertise your service. You may also want to send letters to realtors announcing your business, they can be great advertisers for you.

Make your services free to the people calling into your business looking for referrals. Many home improvement referral businesses charge the contractor anywhere from 6% to 15% depending on the size of the project. You put the customers in touch with the contractor, and upon completion of the project, the contractor pays you a fee.

Advertise that no contractors pay you to get onto your referral list. If clients or contractors ask how they get on the list, explain to them the only way for a contractor to get on the list is for a customer to recommend them. You may want to explain the whole screening process to let the person know the exact qualifications the contractors need to have before being accepted.

A referral service business can expand easily and rapidly. Once your business starts to grow, create a business plan to set goals. Decide how much you want to expand and consider starting franchises in other locations or expanding the list to include contractors that were not included originally. This is your home improvement referral service business and you can take it wherever you want.

Source by Randy Wilson